The activity of pro-Russian extremist groups in Central-Eastern Europe


About the project

Political Capital documented the conducted research on Russian actors and hate groups in Central Europe and raised awareness of this pernicious influence among the wider public throughout 2016-2017 within the project supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.

Together with partners from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, as well as Austria, Political Capital worked to produce comprehensive studies on the Russian influence and impact on the far-right in these countries. The studies provide a precise picture of the scope of the problem, as well as formulate recommendations.


Key findings

Political Capital’s recent research covering Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland is the first research project that focuses mainly on the violent ramifications of Russia’s regional influence. The country case-studies describe how the Kremlin’s strategy supports fringe, extremist or paramilitary organisations in order to undermine bilateral ties with Ukraine and the United States, and destabilise the region after 2014.

The research highlights that these organisations are posing a national security threat throughout the region by keeping their secessionist, revisionist, and ultranationalist cross-country historical grievances dating back to World War Two alive. Bargaining with the territorial disintegration of states and supporting secessionist movements is not something new in the Kremlin’s playbook: Russia has been involved in similar activities all over the Western world, assisting actors ranging from the Italian Lega Nord to the Californian secessionist movement.

The five case-studies and the comparative regional study are all prepared with the involvement of local experts and investigative journalists in the respective countries. We are grateful to the authors and institutions listed below.

Authors and contributors

  • Fabian Schmid – investigative journalist,
  • Dr. Bernhard Weidinger – analyst, Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW)
Czech Republic
  • Jakub Janda – Head of Kremlin Watch Program and Deputy Director, European Values Think Tank
  • Petra Vejvodová PhD. – Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science – Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno
  • Veronika Víchová - analyst, European Values Think Tank
  • András Dezső and Szabolcs Panyi – investigative journalists,
  • Lóránt Győri – geopolitical analyst, Political Capital
  • Attila Juhász – director, Political Capital
  • Péter Krekó PhD. – senior affiliate at Political Capital Institute, Visiting Professor at Indiana University, and Assistant Professor at the Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences
  • Edit Zgut – foreign policy analyst, Political Capital
  • Michal Kacewicz – investigative journalist,
  • Łukasz Wenerski – analyst and project manager of European Programme, Institute for Public Affairs (ISP)
  • Radovan Bránik – independent security expert and blogger
  • Grigorij Mesežnikov PhD. – president, Institute of Public Affairs (IVO)
  • Daniel Milo JUDr. – senior Research Fellow, and head of Strategic Communication Programme at the GLOBSEC Policy Institute


List of publications

Summary reports
  • Hassgrüsse aus Russland – Die Aktivität prorussischer extremistischer Hassgruppen in Mittelosteuropa - DE (download as PDF)
  • Nenávistné pozdravy z Ruska – činnost proruských extremistických skupin ve střední a východní Evropě - CZ (download as PDF)
  • From Russia with hate - The activity of pro-Russian extremist hate groups in Central-Eastern Europe - EN (download as PDF)
  • Oroszországból gyűlölettel – az oroszbarát szélsőséges csoportok aktivitása Közép-Kelet-Európában - HU (download as PDF)
  • Pozdrowienia z Rosji – działalność prorosyjskich ekstremistycznych grup szerzących nienawiść w Europie Środkowo-Wschodniej - PL (download as PDF)
  • Z Ruska s nenávisťou – činnosť pro-ruských extrémistických skupín  v strednej a východnej Európe - SK (download as PDF)
Country reports
  • Austria: Russian connections of the Austrian Far-Right (download as PDF)
  • Czech Republic: The Russian connections of far-right and paramilitary organizations in the Czech Republic (download as PDF)
  • Hungary: “The Truth Today Is What Putin Says It Is” (download as PDF)
  • Poland: Russian soft power in Poland - The Kremlin and pro-Russian organizations (download as PDF)
  • Slovakia: Hatred, violence and comprehensive military training - The violent radicalisation and Kremlin connections of Slovak paramilitary, extremist and neo-Nazi groups (download as PDF)